National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the public private partnership (PPP) initiative to facilitate skilling of the Indian workforce through skill training programmes is on track to skill 150 million people by 2022. Dilip Chenoy, managing director and chief executive officer, talks to M Saraswathy about the strategy for reaching their target. Edited excerpts:
NSDC has been entrusted with the responsibility of skilling 150 million people by 2022. How far have you reached?
The target set up by the prime minister in 2008 was to skill 500 million people by 2022. Within that, NSDC’s target was to get the private sector to train 150 million people by 2022. One of the first things we did was to see whether 150 million jobs were available in the sectors given to us. We found that there were 247 million jobs. If we had infrastructure, it came to 357 million jobs.
The Prime Minister’s Council gave us a target to train 1,20,000 people in 2011-12, and we managed to train about 1,85,000. The next target was 2,25,000, which was then raised to 4,00,000 and we completed that, too. This year, we have been given a target of 10,00,000. By March 31, we should be able to do 10,00,000. As of December, we had 5,40,000. In January, we think we got 150,000. We will slightly exceed our target.
Next year, we have to double. According to our 10-year plan, we are on target according to government targets. But according to internal projections, we are slightly behind target. We worked at 8 per cent growth projections. But growth has slowed. So, the number of jobs expected to be created, has not been created.
As of now, we have four years to complete one million. The next million would be in less than a year and the next million would come in six months. The whole initiative is process driven. We have a process for due diligence, evaluation, proposal evaluation and approval committee and digital monitoring systems.
What role will the sector skill councils (SSCs) play?
We have created sector skill councils, which are employer-led bodies. At present, 501 standards have been created by 16 SSCs. Bodies like itself created 501 job roles. The idea is if the whole ecosystem adopts these standards and if SSCs also assess and certify it, we would see different ecosystems in India.
Further, the banks agreed to give loans to training partners who would assure them a job. The subtle change is that training providers are going through a demand-driven system.
Vocational education is not exactly on top of companies’ priorities. Have you got adequate response from industry?
Some of the training providers are not thinking big enough. We need industry to come up in a big way. Big companies, especially those in the Information Technology sector who do large training programmes, should align and partner in this progress. Otherwise, if you fragment, the private sector would actually be doing training and placement but the numbers would not reflect in the whole ecosystem.
We are looking at how private sectors can partner. This is not necessarily taking money but also non-financial partnerships. So, we need some of the big companies to invest in this space.
Haven't the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) played a major role in the ‘skilling’ push?
The 1,396 ITIs are there, but their output is very small. Every ministry, state government has to align themselves to do a harmonised approach. The industry bodies and industry chambers have prepared reports on how to make these work. Currently, both central and state governments have their own programmes.
For the same skill, different skills are paid differently in different programmes. Rather than everyone having separate standards, SSCs’ standards could be adopted by the ministries. There is a constant challenge of how to work within the system to make existing programmes much more productive.
Has the National Skill Certification and Monetary Reward Scheme been able to attract candidates towards vocational education?
Today, the vocational certificate doesn’t mean anything to anybody. We thought of a mechanism to get SSCs to set occupational standards for entry level jobs which would be accepted by different employers and get training institutions to align training with that. We wanted a process wherein we could get SSC people to certify it and encourage youth to voluntarily join these programmes and get monetary rewards.
We wanted to signal that there is differential cost of differential training. So, level one to level two in services was Rs 7,500, whereas the same in manufacturing was Rs 10,000. The SC helps candidates get a certificate and also assists them in getting a job.
We have also linked it to Aadhaar and it will pay the cash reward to their bank account. We also have the Bank of India Visa debit card for candidates. These debit cards that will also be launched with several others banks; the user will get his/her credit history and Rs 5 lakh accident insurance. We are using technology to scale it.
The average pass percentage is 81-82 per cent. The goal is to set benchmarks for quality and train to get paid. We have 501 training partners. Till now, only 16 SSCs have been involved and only 25 per cent of qualification pacts that they have done have been accepted by training providers. New jobs and new areas are what we should look at. We are launching a television commercial in the area of automobiles and retailing and see more acceleration of numbers.
How many institutions do you plan to tie-up with?
We should have 15-20 proposals in the March meeting, which would be a good mix of companies and institutes. NSDC has a target of tying-up with five companies this year and we might exceed it. But due to the economic conditions, the mood is not as optimistic as we expected. The proposals are also truncated at this point, since the institutions are not sure about the future.
We need a multi-track approach where funding proposals will go on. But we will also look towards companies for non-funding proposals, where they could direct the money towards Corporate Social Responsibility.
NSDC has close to 3,000 fixed centres and 5,000 mobile centres operational. We have disbursed a little over Rs 500 crore plus, but their income is close to that.
Many of our training partners have got to financial sustainability and some have got investment from venture capital and private equity firms. So, we see more entrepreneurs coming up in this space.